USA: Philip Major Mid-Ohio race notes

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines! Philip Major makes moves during first round of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship. Round 1 Race The early morning qualifying session for round 2 of the Formula BMW USA championship was...

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
Philip Major makes moves during first round of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship.

Round 1 Race

The early morning qualifying session for round 2 of the Formula BMW USA championship was a thrilling encounter for those early-birds present at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, and Ottawa driver Philip Major was in the thick of the action.

Later in the day the FBMWUSA drivers would be competing in their first race of the year, and perhaps this anticipation had added a certain urgency to the morning's on-track activities. With the top 20 covered by a mere two seconds, Major was a highly creditable 14th, showing a clean pair of heels to many of his vastly more experienced rivals.

"Obviously I'm a lot happier." Said the Canadian Rookie. "I had more wing, so the car was a lot more stable and the track wasn't as greasy this morning"

The success of qualifying had certainly buoyed him for the race, evident in remarks such as "I think if I get onto it from the get-go we can catch a lot of people off guard" and "if I want to get inside someone I will put my car in there." Stirring stuff, but what did he reckon his chances were for round one? "My goal for the race is to be into the top ten."

True to his word, Major made a demon start and made up two places before the first turn, "Then through corner one I went around the outside and got the door shut on me, so I was positioned to go into corner two on the inside and I made another place, and I saw everyone bunch up at corner four, so I got another one there!" Having picked off four spots on the opening lap, Major was trying to develop a rhythm and achieve his goal of a top ten finish. But, after a handful of laps and great battles with a couple of his rivals, Philip was instead was confronted with the pace car and with it the evaporation of his plans.

"Because I was back in the pack I thought "Yes! The field's going to get bunched up again!" so I was happy to see the pace car come out," said the young Rookie "but then it felt like a really long time under yellow." In fact it was a long time -almost half the race - and with a busy schedule and the FBMWUSA's allotted time running out, the race was called. "I wasn't too happy to see the checkered flag come out." Major grimaced.

Nevertheless, Major had acquitted himself well in his first race, and with his vastly superior qualifying performance for tomorrow's race, he can only improve on an already fine start.

***

Good Times, Bad Times.
Fired-up Rookie sets stunning pace in difficult race.

Round 2 Race

It is said that you make your own luck. If that is true, then it should also be said that it is others who make your luck bad. So it was for Canadian youngster Philip Major at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Major has always excelled when track conditions are treacherous and he was expecting to be in the top four during the sodden morning warm-up. However, with his rivals coping less admirably with the wet circuit, not a single meaningful lap was recorded due to repeated red flag stoppages.

"We saw what happened in the warm up," said Major shortly before round two of the Formula BMW USA championship, "there's going to be a lot of yellows, so I'll have to be cautious. The goal for the first few corners will be just to survive, and from there make a run and try and pass. But it's going to be difficult."

Major wasn't wrong. Although the track had dried considerably, it was still very damp as the start lights went out. The Ottawa lad's dayglo car shot off the line and was looking good, tucked to the inside for turn one and avoiding the roiling pack to the outside where the seemingly inevitable accident unfolded. Unfortunately, the hapless Canadian was confronted by a car spinning across his nose.

"It was either smoke the guy in the side-pod, or go off into the gravel trap," shrugged Major, "so I chose not to hit the guy..." Philip's competitors' brain-fade and his own quick reactions resulted in the Ottawa lad being buried in the gravel trap for two laps, all hopes now dashed.

Once back on track, Major was keen not to waste any remaining opportunities, so he wisely used the remaining time as another important test session; setting blisteringly fast laps well inside the top ten, culminating in a time a mere sixth off the fastest lap of all.

"The results don't show it, but I think we had a few good moments this weekend." Said a relaxed Major after the race. "The start yesterday, being fast in the rain and the speed we had today. We will carry this confidence to the next race because we know we have everything we need; we just have to put it together."

-bond-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Philip Major